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TRX Suspension Training

What is TRX Suspension Training? What are the benefits of TRX? How does TRX work? How is TRX different from strength training?

Most people think strength training is just lifting weights using free weights or machines.


There are other types of strength training that, depending on your goals, can be just as useful or can help you achieve even better results.

This article is about one of them – TRX Suspension Training.


What is TRX?

TRX (Total (Body) Resistance eXercises) is a training method designed primarily to improve body strength, stability and cardiovascular health. This is done without traditional weight lifting – using only a simple suspension system (strong, adjustable straps similar to a marine parachute harness) and your body weight.

Virtually any exercise you do without a TRX, such as planks or push-ups, squats or abdominal crunches, you can make more challenging with a TRX and thus provide an effective strength workout in a relatively shorter time.

The main advantages of TRX are:

  • Different muscle groups are engaged at the same time and the core muscles are involved in all exercises to stabilise the body.
  • The TRX is ideal for full-body workouts as it can perform hundreds of different exercises.
  • The exercises can be easily adapted to different fitness levels, from beginners to advanced athletes.
  • The TRX system is lightweight and space-saving so you can work out virtually anywhere – at home, outdoors or in the gym.

TRX Suspension Training is essentially a functional workout in which the human body’s weight provides resistance.


TRX History

The TRX workout system was developed in the late 1990s by Marine Corps Unit Commander Randy Hetrick to keep himself in good physical shape in remote locations where access to traditional gym equipment is limited.

The first TRX system was made in 1997 from a jiu-jitsu belt and a parachute harness.

The prototype was primitive but functional allowing efficient performance of varied exercises.  Hetrick shared his concept with his teammates who liked the practicality and effectiveness of the approach.

In 2004 Randy Hetrick officially founded Fitness Anywhere, Inc., which later became TRX Training. The company begins manufacturing and selling a commercial version of TRX (the TRX Suspension Trainer), promoting it to commanders of elite Army units and other military personnel.

In 2005, TRX also appeared on the fitness market. Among the first buyers are fitness professionals, personal trainers and athletes.

2007 TRX started to gain popularity in the fitness community at large. The company launches professional education and certification programmes for trainers.

Within five years TRX already had more than one million users in over 60 countries. By 2014, in its ninth year of operation, TRX had annual revenues of almost 50 million US dollars.


How does TRX work?

TRX forces the body to work in conditions of instability and to stabilise the body, you need to engage the deep muscles continuously.


You don’t just train strength or endurance, but also flexibility, balance and coordination.

The degree of difficulty of an exercise depends on how you position your body – the more horizontal your body is to the ground, the more difficult the exercise will be (more weight is being lifted).

To ensure that your muscles are working efficiently, keep the tension on and keep the TRX straps tight all the time.

Move slowly and deliberately, concentrating on the correct execution of the exercise. A continuous flow of movement ensures a high heart rate throughout the workout, allowing you to develop strength and coordination and burn maximum calories at the same time.

Breathe evenly, exhaling at exertion (e.g. pulling or pushing) and inhaling as you return to the starting position.

Start with basic exercises and gradually increase the difficulty and intensity as you master the system.

Listen to your body – avoid over-exertion and stop if you feel pain or discomfort beyond normal muscle fatigue.

Here are some examples of TRX exercises.

How is TRX different from traditional strength training?

While both TRX and traditional strength training are designed to improve fitness, their approaches, equipment, and benefits differ significantly. 

Here are the main differences between TRX and traditional strength training:



Strength training


TRX Suspension Trainer – straps with adjustable length and handles for arm and/or leg support.

Free weights (dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells) and machines.


The TRX system is lightweight and portable, so it’s easy to use virtually anywhere.

Almost only in gyms.

Resistance provided by

Your body weight. Resistance is adjusted by changing the angle of the body to the ground.

Free weights and machines. Resistance is adjusted by changing the weight of the barbell, dumbbells, etc., or the settings of the machines.

Variety of exercises

Wide range of exercises that engage several muscle groups simultaneously.

Wide range of exercises targeting specific muscles or muscle groups.

Focuses on

Improvement of functional strength, flexibility, balance and stability.


Suitable for full-body training and improving athletic performance.

Muscle mass and maximal strength development.


Effective for changing body composition and addressing the weakness of specific muscles.


TRX exercises mimic everyday movements, increasing functional strength and improving endurance, stability, balance, coordination and flexibility.


The constant involvement of the core muscles helps increase their strength, resulting in improved body stability.

Effective for building maximum strength, power and muscle mass through progressive overload.


Allows isolation of specific muscles or muscle groups useful for increasing muscle mass and preventing imbalances.


Easy to follow progress by gradually increasing weights.


Although TRX is effective for developing functional strength and endurance, it is less effective than strength training for developing maximal strength and muscle mass, as it is more difficult to isolate and target specific muscles with TRX.

Requires expensive equipment of various types, which may not always be available.


Although many traditional strength exercises engage the core muscles, they are less effective than TRX for training them.

Risk of injury

The risk of injury can be higher, especially if the exercises are performed incorrectly (the person is not able to provide the stability and balance needed to perform them correctly).

The risk of injury can be significant, especially if large free weights are used and the exercises are performed incorrectly.

Suitability for beginners

Although TRX is adaptable to all fitness levels, it can be more challenging for beginners, as good coordination and balance are needed to perform the exercises correctly.

For beginners, it is safer to use exercise machines

as they make it easier to perform the exercises correctly.


How often should you TRX?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions regarding any type of exercise.


There is no definitive answer – it depends on your goals, fitness level and lifestyle (how much time you can or want to spend training).

Whether your goal is to increase your body mass, become slimmer, lose weight, become stronger, increase your endurance or develop sport-specific qualities, if you want to achieve results as quickly as possible – regularity is key.

In other words, to achieve the best possible results and to achieve them faster, you need a systematic approach and a training programme that precisely defines parameters like:

  1. Frequency – how many times a week the workouts are performed.
  2. Intensity – how intense the workouts are (what exercises are performed and at what pace).
  3. Time – the average duration of the workouts.
  4. Type – the type of workouts (TRX, HIIT, cardio, etc.).

As you can see, the type of workout is only one part of the training programme.

People come to me mainly to reduce body fat and/or increase muscle mass.


In both cases, the first and foremost prerequisite is – proper nutrition.

The second is – adequate training load and enough rest (the time your body needs to recover after a workout). The optimal load and time required for rest is very individual for each of us.


General recommendations could be:

  • If you are a beginner or getting back into shape, start with training three days a week.
  • Train for 40 to 60 minutes per session. Take at least one day to rest between workouts.
  • As your fitness improves, increase the intensity of the workouts – perform the exercises with your body closer to the ground, decrease your stability or a combination of both.
  • As you progress, you can add one more workout per week.

There are some general guidelines you can use to increase strength, burn fat and improve overall performance and endurance:

  • Focus on developing strength in a few workouts each week (choosing exercises where the body is closer to the ground and performing them at a slow pace to increase time under tension).
  • To improve cardiovascular and muscular endurance, include periods of high intensity in some of your workouts. The best way to do this is to combine TRX and HIIT workouts.
  • Alternate upper and lower body exercises or push and pull exercises.
  • Remember to warm up before and after TRX workouts too.

Key takeaways

TRX allows you to develop overall functional strength, endurance, coordination, flexibility and balance by using only your body weight and the suspension straps.

TRX is also a low-impact workout (less stress on the joints and generally kinder to the body) and is therefore suitable for people of all fitness levels and abilities.


No matter how busy you are, you can definitely schedule 40-60 minutes for a good workout.

In other words, there is only one obstacle to improving your health and fitness – reluctance.


Eat tasty, eat balanced, move and – be healthy!

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